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How to Write a Best-seller

How to Write a Best-seller

What makes a best-seller? No one has a definitive answer, but mine satisfies me: The reader never sees the words. Got your attention, didn't I? Well, the real title of this is The Psychology of Reading; What's Going on In a Reader's Mind, which is a goal all writers...

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Refining Your Vision: The Art of Rewriting

Refining Your Vision: The Art of Rewriting

The Art of Rewriting and Unwriting Perhaps you've heard this old joke. A visitor to New York once asked a musician for directions, inquiring, “Can you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall?” The answer came back: “Practice!” Whatever the art form, the development of...

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Mystery Writing is Murder

Mystery Writing is Murder

The first time I sat down to hammer out a manuscript (a historical romance), I made a ton of rookie mistakes. One of the biggest was the endless parade of secondary characters I had strolling through the pages. Much of the action of the book took place at a country...

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How to Format Your Picture Book Text

How to Format Your Picture Book Text

Imagine you are an editor at a publishing house that still accepts unsolicited submissions. Beside you is a teetering tower of manuscripts awaiting your response. Several more piles choke the floor around your desk, and they'll only be larger by tomorrow. After a...

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Writing Tip: Make It Plain

Writing Tip: Make It Plain

No one wants to read anything that looks like the terms of use for the average computer software. Why do we insist on writing like that? For example, here is an excerpt of the Terms of Use for the Waze app.* All words in this entire blog entry that are in boldface are...

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The Value Of Editors

The Value Of Editors

Recently, the New York Times notified their editorial staff that they were going to lay off or buy out half of them. So the editorial staff published an open letter to Executive Editor Dean Baquet and Managing Editor Joe Kahn. In it, they describe some of what we...

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Facts and Emotions

Facts and Emotions

Sometimes we editors have to distance ourselves from a manuscript. Sometimes that happens when the scope of work requires a lighter touch from the editor than would best serve the manuscript. For example, a manuscript might be difficult to follow, sparse in its...

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The Cahoon Chronicles. Memoir and Story

The Cahoon Chronicles. Memoir and Story

Memoir Writing Tips Memoirs are deceptive. It seems like such an easy thing to tell people about your life. Just start at the beginning, right? No, don’t. Haven’t you ever been trapped in That conversation before? The one with the coworker or in-law or uncle? Or...

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